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News

Update Center

We appreciate the help and support of our staff, students and families as we address this continually evolving situation.  We’ll continue to communicate as often as possible through a variety of venues, including this web page.  

January 14, 2021
Update: Elementary In-Person Learning
As we return elementary schools to in-person learning, the safety of students, teachers and staff is of utmost importance.
Starting on January 25, all elementary schools and early childhood programs of Duluth Public Schools will begin a return to full in-person learning.
We’re following a rolling start process (required by MDH and MDE) in which students are gradually brought back in the building.
We’ll bring in Pre-K through second graders first, and then grades three through five two weeks later:
  • Monday, January 25: Pre-Kindergarten through second grade return
  • Monday, February 8: Grades three through five return
  • Families may choose to remain in distance learning if they wish.
To prepare for the transition, there will be no distance learning for elementary students Pre-K through Grade 5 January 19, 20, and 21.
Those three days were chosen to reduce the impact on students - they’re sandwiched between the Martin Luther King Jr. student holiday Monday January 18 and the Friday January 22 semester break, another student holiday. Note, Tier 1 emergency childcare will be provided January 19, 20, 21.
A web page is prepared to help families understand in general what to expect when students are in school. It may be updated with new information as planning continues. Each elementary is sharing school-specific information with families, too, please check with your school if you have questions.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work to bring students back to school safely.
 
Additional Information:

January 14, 2021
Northland We Can
Denfeld, Duluth East, Proctor, Superior Students, Teachers, Coaches, Community Lift Up COVID Safety
Continuing to follow COVID safety protocols until vaccinations are widespread helps schools, hospitals, nursing homes, area businesses - everyone. It's more important than ever, as local schools begin bringing students back to in person learning and athletics and activities resume.
More COVID Safety Tips: staysafe.mn.gov
Help spread the message:
Many thanks to those who helped with the videos and all who help control the spread.
#Inspire709 #WeCanNorthland
 

December 23, 2020
Elementary In-Person: Model Selection Form
Birth to Grade 5 Families, Please Complete the Model Selection Form By January 8
Starting on January 25, all elementary schools and early childhood programs of Duluth Public Schools will begin a return to full in-person learning.
In this model, families have the ability to choose distance learning rather than in person if they wish.
In order for the transition to in-person learning to be safe and successful for all, we need families to confirm what they plan to do. Please complete one form for each of the birth to grade 5 students in your household by Friday January 8. Updated student learning model selection is critical for thoughtful planning and preparation, and for getting students back into their classrooms while keeping everyone in our school community safe.
 
 
Additional Information:
Please note, when the district returns to in-person learning for Birth to Grade 5 students, Tier 1 childcare will no longer be available to students in these grade levels. Please contact K.E.Y. Zone if you are in need of before or after school childcare options.

December 18, 2020
Duluth School Officials to Discuss Elementary In-Person Return Options
   There will be an informational item on the Monday December 21 Committee of the Whole Board meeting related to Governor Walz’s announcement on Thursday prioritizing in-person learning for elementary students. 
   The Board and district administrators will review the announcement and the planning necessary to restart full in-person classes for kindergarten through second grade on Monday, January 25, and grades three through five on Monday, February 8. Families may choose to remain in distance learning if they wish
   According to the new state guidelines, returning to full in-person learning at elementary requires a rolling start, with no more than 3 grade level bands added during a two-week period.
   Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan requires 2 to 5 days for preparation and transition to a less restrictive model change.  We would use three days, beginning after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday Monday January 18. Friday January 22 is semester break.
   As per the state’s Safe Learning Plan, our middle school and high school students must continue with distance learning, with exploration and planning for returning to in-person learning as conditions and guidance allow. 
   The new state guidance is designed to prioritize in-person learning for the state’s youngest students.  Per the Governor’s announcement:
• Schools play a critical role in the health, well-being, and education of Minnesota’s children.
• Youngest kids are less susceptible to serious complications from COVID-19.
• We have learned how to reduce spread in schools from success in other settings.
   Recent research shared by the CDC indicates that children who tested positive for COVID 19 were more likely to have attended gatherings such as weddings, parties and playdates and not as likely to have attended child care or school in-person.   
   We’re excited to consider bringing students back for in-person learning.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through the pandemic together. 
 
Sincerely,
John Magas, Superintendent
Duluth Public Schools

December 16, 2020
Governor Walz Announces Safe Learning Plan Changes
   Today Governor Tim Walz announced updates to Minnesota’s Safe Learning Plan for the 20-21 School Year that help prioritize and support in-person learning for elementary students. 
   District and school administrators will review the new guidelines and begin to incorporate them into our planning.  We’ll work to share preliminary plans with staff and families in the coming days prior to winter break next week. Plans will include a return to at least elementary in-person hybrid in mid to late January. Families could continue to choose all distance learning for their elementary students if they wish.  
   The district still plans for distance learning for middle and high school students to continue through January 21 with the second semester under review.
   One new mitigation strategy announced by the state today is that all public schools providing in-person or hybrid learning must offer on-site COVID testing to all staff that interact with students. The state said it will provide training and saliva test kits so that schools can conduct this testing.
   The Governor also announced that youth sports teams will be able to start practicing on January 4, but they will not be able to play games yet.  We will continue to follow the Governor’s directives regarding in-person athletics and activities.
   We are partnering with the city and neighboring districts and communities to encourage preventative measures, including mask wearing and social distancing. These strategies are making a positive difference. We all want our students back in school safely as soon as possible and our collective efforts can help make that a reality. 
   Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through the pandemic together. 
 
Sincerely,
John Magas, Superintendent  
Duluth Public Schools

December 4, 2020
Help Support Important School Funding! Deadline Dec 15
Families, please fill out the Free/Reduced Price Lunch Application to help support millions in important school funding.
Approved Free & Reduced Price Lunch applications generate state funding that provides important services and programs for Duluth students. A decline in approved applications now can result in loss of millions of dollars in school funding and less programs and services for students in the next school year.
In addition to providing free meals for children, approved applications may also qualify students for discounted or free extra-curricular activity fees.
It's easy and confidential, apply any time, 24/7.
Questions? Call 218-336-8707, we're happy to help.
 

November 30, 2020
Help Desk for Students, Families
Beginning November 30, Duluth Public Schools families and students will have access to Help Desk support during digital learning. Help Desk Hotline 218-336-8732.
The Help Desk will be able to assist students and parents with questions related to district technical support issues, for example:
- District Chromebook support
- District AT&T hotspot support
- System login questions
- Filtering
- Limited personal devices and internet support
- Limited Digital Curriculum support

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know.

Email: ReturnToLearn@ISD709.org

Resources: MN Department of Health

COVID-19 Hotline: Questions about COVID-19? Call the MDH COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920 Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Resources: St. Louis County Health Department